Sometimes you just got to get away from it all, jump in your car, blast some tunes and gaze out the window at the natural beauty that lies just on the other side of the road. Here are 10 scenic drives in the U.S. to get those wheels rolling.
Oregon: Columbia River Highway, 74 miles from Troutdale to the Dalles
This road has many “first’s”- It was the first paved road in the Northwest and America’s first scenic highway; it was the last leg of the Oregon trail as well as the final piece of Lewis and Clark’s journey. Pretend you’re a pioneer in a covered wagon and enjoy the sweeping Oregon landscape where north meets west.
Florida: Overseas Highway, 160 miles from Miami to Key West
As you leave the hustle and bustle of urban Miami, prepare for a welcome transition into laid-back island life. The highway carries you through each FL Key including the never-ending 7-mile bridge. Here, the sun seems brighter; the sand is warmer and the water just might be a little bluer. Keep those windows down and feel that salty breeze kiss your skin – Welcome to Margaritaville.
Blue Ridge Parkway, 469 miles from Virginia to North Carolina
If you like the peace and quiet of the countryside mixed in with the unparalleled beauty of a mountainous landscape, the breathtaking Blue Ridge Mountains is the place to set your wheels in motion. Enjoy some of the country’s most picturesque forest, complete with gushing waterfalls and fresh mountain air.
Texas: Devil’s Backbone Farm Roads 12, 165, 2325, 32 and Hwy 281
This magnificent loop in Texas Hill Country is for the ghost hunters and thrill seekers. Don’t be fooled by the alluring centuries old limestone hills and glimmering lakes- This road is peppered with history with a fair share of apparition spotting’s and creepy legends.
Montana: Going-to-the-Sun Road, 52 miles in Glacier National Park
June- October is the time to hit the road in Montana for a spectacular scenic treat. Go ahead and take in the rugged glaciers bursting from the earth, dipping gorges carving out glacial canyons and snowy peaks. The jagged ridge forms the great Continental Divide- the only place in the U.S. where water flows to the Pacific, Gulf of Mexico and Hudson Bay.
California: Pacific Coast Highway, 123 miles
See the best of the West Coast all from the windows of your car. Kick back and relax on the infamous PCH as it winds and twists along California’s coastline, taking you on an unforgettable journey through the Redwood forest, Sonoma Wine Country, Monterrey and more.
Utah: All American Byway 12, US Hwy 89, 120 miles
If you think the Grand Canyon is a sight to behold then get an eye-full of Bryce Canyon, just one of the mind-blowing sights you will witness when driving on Byway 12. It’s a painted horizon splashed with red orange rocks and green aspen and pine forests. Wind your way through slick rock canyons and stop to take a gander at the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.
Colorado: San Juan Skyway, 233 miles, San Juan National Forest, Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison National Forest
Drive into the clouds with striking views of mountains, alpine forests and ancient Pueblo Indian ruins of this dazzling landscape. Drive during spring, and you’ll notice melting snow turned to waterfalls, crashing over rocky ledges and wildflowers blanketing fresh spring green meadows.
Pennsylvania and Delaware: Brandywine Valley, 12 miles
Yes, it’s a short trip, but you get a lot packed into a handful of miles. This is a drive perfect for the ardent history buff. The 1777 Battle of Brandywine took place in this quiet countryside of rolling green pastures and elegant mansions that exudes old wealth and colonial charm. Jump in your time machine and enjoy the splendor of this chronicled passage way.
Hawaii: Hilo-Hamakua Heritage Coastline Drive, 45 miles
This Highway was built for sightseeing. Hugging the Hilo Bay, enjoy the tropical brilliance Hawaii is well known for, with turquoise waters giving rise to emerald green cliffs and bright, dense foliage. These narrow, twisting roads were not created for fast travel, just slow down and become one with the tropics.
Courtney is a full-time writer covering soccer, travel and the outdoors. You can find her scouting out hole in the wall joints for the perfect carnitas taco, jumping in the ocean under the light of a full moon or exploring the beautiful Florida wilderness and documenting her adventures in her blog, www.localtravelgal.wordpress.com.